A third of civil servants looking to quit their jobs over pay cap, says survey

20 Jun 17

The public sector pay restraint has left a third of civil servants looking to quit their jobs “as soon as possible”, a survey by the FDA union has warned.

Today’s survey of almost 2,000 public sector leaders shows that 83% are unhappy with current pay arrangements in the civil service following the government’s introduction of a 1% pay cap and austerity measures.

On the eve of the Queen’s Speech the FDA, which represents senior managers and professionals in public service, has urged the chancellor Philip Hammond and the new minister for the Cabinet Office Damian Green to review public sector pay.

The FDA now joins a chorus of public sector unions, including Unite, UNISON and GMB who have made similar calls regarding the government’s pay cap as it demands a pay review, which includes incentives to attract new recruits.

Dissatisfaction over pay is fuelled by the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics, which show inflation has hit 2.9% while wages have only grown by 1.7%, resulting in a tightening of wages.

In his letter to the chancellor and minister for the Cabinet Office, the FDA’s general secretary Dave Penman said there is “a real risk that the continuation of the government’s current approach on civil service pay could seriously undermine public service delivery”.
He adds: “Our survey found that a third of civil servants say they would like to leave the civil service as soon as possible.

“Even more concerning is the view expressed by 86% of respondents that their department is not sufficiently resourced to meet the challenges it will face in the year ahead.”

The FDA states some of it members first saw their pay frozen in 2010 and with the 1% cap on pay rises introduced in 2012 some civil servants have now experienced a real terms pay cut of over 20%, when the cap is combined with other changes to their terms and conditions.

Penman repeated the concerns raised by others that the pay increase cap was making it difficult to recruit and retain new staff.

He pointed out that high turnover of staff was “wasteful and inefficient” and was “getting in the way of successful delivery”.

According to the FDA’s study, 68% of respondents are aware of recruitment and or retention difficulties in their organisation, while 60% say their morale has decreased over the course of the last year, with only 6% feeling more positive about their role. 

The FDA have urged the government to prioritise resourcing the civil service properly to meet the challenges of the year ahead.

Adding: “This means fundamentally changing the approach taken to civil service pay so that it rewards and motivates those people tasked with delivering the government’s agenda.”

Did you enjoy this article?